If you were wondering why your mechanical royalty is still 9.1¢ on vinyl and downloads, it’s because the rate was set by the government through an agency called the Copyright Royalty Board. As it turns out, the Copyright Royalty Board is currently deciding what your mechanical royalty should be for 2023-2027 on physical and downloads.
You probably noticed that your mechanical hasn’t increased since 2006–nearly a generation of songwriters have grown up with that frozen rate. (For more background on this, read Chris’s post on frozen mechanicals and controlled compositions.)
The NMPA, NSAI and the major labels are trying to get the Copyright Royalty Board to extend the freeze another five years with not even an inflation increase. (For more background on frozen mechanicals, The Trichordist has a bunch of posts about it.)
The public does get to comment on these rates. The frozen rates are so bad that the comments were all opposed to the proposed settlement. The comments were so negative that the Copyright Royalty Board took the unprecedented step of re-opening the public comments.
That reopened comment period ends on Monday, November 22. You still have time to comment so make sure you set up your commenter account with the Copyright Royalty Board. Chris has a good post on MusicTech.Solutions that explains how to get your account.
Your comments matter! The Copyright Royalty Board has to take into account the public’s participation in the rules they make and nobody has ever objected to the frozen mechanical rate before (mostly because nobody knew it was happening back in Washington, DC). And here we are 15 years later.